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    Hey Hoop Ballers! This is our inaugural edition of a new article which will present you with the top-10 players in each of the standard eight categories by stat totals from the past week. In addition to showing you the best performers in counting categories, I’ll also give you guys a look at players that helped and hurt your team the most in field goal and free throw percentages.

    Under each category I’ll provide analysis on player performances and whether or not they are trends or anomalies. The purpose of this is to give owners (especially those in head-to-head leagues) some context for their weekly matchups. When you play in a head-to-head league, the weekly chunks may lead to greater variance due to the smaller sample size. Because of this, each week/matchup is a different beast and while your team may excel in free throw shooting, you could have lost last week because you started Otto Porter and DeMar DeRozan.

    The way this list will be formatted will be:

    Player Name (Games Played) – Stat Total

    Points

    1. Kevin Durant (4) – 113
    2. DeMarcus Cousins (3) – 109
    3. Stephen Curry (4) – 106
    4. LaMarcus Aldridge (4) – 101
    5. LeBron James (4) – 97
    6. James Harden (4) – 96
    7. Kemba Walker (4) – 94
    8. Giannis Antetokounmpo (3) – 93
    9. Klay Thompson (4) – 90
    10. Victor Oladipo (3), Nikola Jokic (4) – 86

    You’ll be seeing a lot of Durant and Antetokuonmpo on this list throughout the year as Giannis has a strong chance of finishing first in points per game. Cousins has been on a tear and almost scored the most points last week on only three games and the return of Anthony Davis hasn’t slowed him down. LaMarcus Aldridge’s usage rate is the highest it’s been since he was in Portland and this number will decrease when Kawhi comes back. Enjoy these retro LMA lines while you can and if you’re smart, sell high. Oladipo is being put in the best position to succeed in Indiana and is posting an absurd 31.9% usage rate in the past week. He won’t be a top-15 player all season, but a top-30 finish is well within reach. After a scoreless scare in the first week, Jokic is back on track and will get better with time as the Nuggets incorporate Paul Millsap.

    3s

    1. Ryan Anderson (4) – 18
    2. Eric Gordon (3) – 16
    3. Marco Belinelli (4) – 14
    4. Kevin Durant (4) – 14
    5. Kyle Korver (4) – 13
    6. Wesley Matthews (4) – 13
    7. Kevin Love (4) – 13
    8. Klay Thompson (4) – 13
    9. Otto Porter (4) – 13
    10. Stephen Curry (4) – 12

    Last year the Rockets shot 40.3 3PA/G, this year that number is at 43.6 3PA/G. Ryno and Gordon benefited from Trevor Ariza missing two games, but both players should end the year around three triples a game. If you’re on Houston’s roster you’re going to be on this list eventually. Belinelli has been red hot for over a week and he makes for a better streaming option for 3s than Kyle Korver, but both are fine to have at the end of your roster. Wesley Matthews looks so much better than last year but I’m still skeptical about his ability to maintain a 2.9 3P/G average. Love and Porter are going to continue to gun it from deep out of necessity from their teams and Curry owners are upset that he didn’t hit 20 treys this week.

    Rebounds

    1. Andre Drummond (4) – 64
    2. DeAndre Jordan (3) – 50
    3. Nikola Jokic (4) – 49
    4. DeMarcus Cousins – 48
    5. Kevin Love (4) – 46
    6. Clint Capela (4) – 44
    7. Enes Kanter (3) – 37
    8. Karl-Anthony Towns (3) – 36
    9. Marc Gasol (4) – 36
    10. Giannis Antetokuonmpo (3) – 35

    Drummond is rebounding better than last year and it wouldn’t surprise me to see him lead the league in rebounding again while setting a new career high in boards. Jordan had a pair of 18 board games to vault him to the number two spot while only playing three games. Jokic’s career-high rebounding averages look like they’ll stick as Paul Millsap isn’t going to suck any value out from that department. Capela is also on his way to a breakout season, but he had two six rebound games to go with a career-high 20 this week. He’s still struggling at times to stay on the floor due to foul trouble but if he figures that out, he’ll be a lock for double digit boards.

    Assists

    1. John Wall (4) – 44
    2. LeBron James (4) – 41
    3. James Harden (4) – 40
    4. Russell Westbrook – 38
    5. Stephen Curry (4) – 29
    6. Ben Simmons (3) – 27
    7. Kemba Walker (4) – 26
    8. Darren Collison (4) – 25
    9. Spencer Dinwiddie (4) – 25
    10. Draymond Green (4), Kyle Lowry (3) – 24

    Here you can see how valuable and scarce assists are. The top five players on this list are all first round picks and there’s a significant drop off after Westbrook. Simmons has been unreal and his ability to hand out dimes at such a high rate is going to make him rosterable on any team. Dinwiddie could be a standard league add as he’s shown the ability to consistently dish out assists – his last four games he totaled 4, 11, 6, 4 assists and he’s getting minutes even with D’Angelo Russell healthy.

    Steals

    1. Andre Drummond (4) – 13
    2. DeMar DeRozan (3) – 12
    3. Stephen Curry (4) – 10
    4. Taurean Prince (4) – 9
    5. Otto Porter (4) – 9
    6. T.J. McConnell (3) – 8
    7. Wesley Matthews (4) – 8
    8. Avery Bradley (4) – 8
    9. Kent Bazemore (4) – 8
    10. Gary Harris (4), Ben Simmons (3), Austin Rivers (3), Robert Covington (3), Joe Ingles (3), Tyler Ulis (3), Russell Westbrook (3) – 7

    Drummond has been averaging 2.3 steals in seven games so far and owners are thrilled, hopefully his 1.1 blocks increase as well. Taurean Prince has been inconsistent offensively, but his contributions on the defensive end have been steady and he should be owned in all leagues. McConnell may have some low-end streaming value for assists and steals now that Fultz is out for the foreseeable future. Bazemore is having a nice bounce back year and that’s with his horrid shooting so far, keep him rolling until the wheels all off. Rivers is worth a streaming spot as well for 3s and steals while Ingles should also be owned everywhere.

    Blocks

    1. Rudy Gobert (3) – 11
    2. Pau Gasol (4) – 9
    3. Clint Capela (4) – 8
    4. David West (4) – 8
    5. Jarell Martin (4) – 7
    6. Karl-Anthony Towns (3) – 7
    7. Danny Green (4) – 7
    8. Luc Mbah a Moute (4), Draymond Green (4), Marc Gasol (4), Jakob Poeltl (3), DeAndre Jordan (3) – 6

    After averaging 1 block his first three games, the Stifle Tower averaged 3.67 blocks in week two. He’s been great so far and appears to be safe from a blocks regression. Gasol doesn’t give you flashy box scores but is sitting right outside the top-75 due to his value in boards and blocks. He’s playing less than last year but is producing at an equal rate. I hope the 2% of people who owned Jarell Martin enjoyed his seven blocks last week as that’s a performance that I don’t expect to see often or ever again barring any injuries. Danny Green continues to get it done on the defensive end and should be owned everywhere as he’s averaging a cash counter line of 2/1.5/1.5. Let’s hope he can continue this whenever Kawhi Leonard returns.

    Heat Checks

    1. Clint Capela (4) – 75.9%, 29 FGA
    2. Evan Fournier (3) – 64.3%, 42 FGA
    3. Giannis Antetokuonmpo (3) – 58.7%, 63 FGA
    4. Nikola Jokic (4) – 59.6%, 57 FGA
    5. Pascal Siakam (2) – 77.3%, 22 FGA
    6. Aaron Gordon (3) – 62.2%, 45 FGA
    7. LeBron James (4) – 57.6%, 66 FGA
    8. Steven Adams (3) – 66.7%, 33 FGA
    9. Victor Oladipo (3) – 60.4%, 48 FGA
    10. Kevin Durant (4) – 56.5%, 69 FGA

    Capela and Adams are having wonderful years and their percentages by the year’s end will be nearing .600. Fournier is a fireball right now, shooting 53.9 percent on the year. Pascal Siakam has had two incredible games from the field, but does nothing else and should be left on the wire unless you’re desperate. Giannis is shooting 53.1 percent of his shots within the restricted area and is converting on 82.6 percent of those, the scary thing is I think those numbers are sustainable. If the Greek Freak is going to shoot over .500 on over 20 FGA, he’s earned that nickname. Oladipo won’t continue to shoot 50 percent on the season, but the drop off from that won’t be far.

    Brick Walls

    1. Damian Lillard (3) – 30.4%, 56 FGA
    2. Kyle Lowry (3) – 27.9%, 43 FGA
    3. John Wall (4) – 35.8%, 67 FGA
    4. Kent Bazemore (4) – 33.3%, 54 FGA
    5. Lonzo Ball (3) – 25%, 28 FGA
    6. Denzel Valentine (3) – 30.6%, 36 FGA
    7. Danilo Gallinari (3) – 32.5%, 40 FGA
    8. Terry Rozier (3) – 24%, 25 FGA
    9. Jamal Murray (4) – 37.9%, 58 FGA
    10. Eric Gordon (3) – 38.7%, 62 FGA

    Lillard, Lowry and Wall are much better than this and they’ll figure it out eventually. If you had any combination of those three last week you can shrug off that loss in field goal percentage as an off week. Looking at the rest of the list, these guys are all inefficient chuckers and even with positive regression they’ll probably scrape at 40 percent. They provide value in other categories, but if you’re consistently losing in field goal percentage, you might want to take a look at these percentage sinkers.

    Nash at the line

    1. Stephen Curry (4) – 96.3%, 27 FTA
    2. Kemba Walker (4) – 100%, 19 FTA
    3. Victor Oladipo (3) – 95%, 20 FTA
    4. Danilo Gallinari (3) – 100%, 14 FTA
    5. Nikola Jokic (4) – 100%, 13 FTA
    6. Kyrie Irving (3) – 100%, 13 FTA
    7. Karl-Anthony Towns (3) – 94.1%, 17 FTA
    8. Kevin Love (4) – 88.9%, 27 FTA
    9. Tyler Johnson (3), Jamal Murray (4) – 100%, 10 FTA

    Curry usually averages around 4.5 FTA per game, but is at 7.6 FTA this year. Coach Steve Kerr loves it and it’s been a point of emphasis for the two-time MVP, so this could be a trend that lasts all season. Part of Gallinari’s value is his ability to get to the line frequently and convert at a high clip and he’s finally drawing fouls after a slow first week.

    Ben Wallace at the stripe

    1. DeAndre Jordan (3) – 38.5%, 13 FTA
    2. Blake Griffin (3) – 58.3%, 24 FTA
    3. Mason Plumlee (4) – 53.3%, 15 FTA
    4. Jonathon Simmons (3) – 65.2%, 23 FTA
    5. Andre Drummond (4) – 57.1%, 14 FTA
    6. Kosta Koufos (3) – 57.1%, 14 FTA
    7. Russell Westbrook (3) – 66.7%, 21 FTA
    8. Rudy Gobert (3) – 61.5%, 13 FTA
    9. Otto Porter (4) – 55.6%, 9 FTA
    10. DeMar DeRozan (3) – 72%, 25 FTA

    Griffin has shot above 70 percent at the line in the past four seasons, but his career-high is 76 percent. He’s at 8 FTA per game and that number will likely stick due to his increased offensive role and if he’s only converting 70 percent, it’s actually damaging your percentages. Drummond ended his hot streak at the line but is still shooting above his career average of 38.4 percent. It still isn’t enough and if the attempts increase, teams with Drummond will go back to tanking this category. Porter went 0-for-3 at the line one game which hurt his weekly value but I expect him to climb back to 80 percent. DeRozan had a couple off games and was playing through a sickness so I’ll give the career 82.7 percent free throw shooter a pass. Westbrook has been awful at the line so far this year but I trust him to get back on track as well.

Fantasy News

  • Kyrie Irving - G - Boston Celtics

    Kyrie Irving (right knee strain) says he is healthy and plans to play in Sunday's All-Star game.

    Irving missed the last two Celtics' games but fantasy owners shouldn't expect him to miss any more with the current injury. Terry Rozier was a hot pickup when Irving initially went down but now goes back to being a handcuff. Irving has put up top-10 per-game value this year with no holes in his fantasy game but he has already missed 11 games. He has missed at least 10 games in seven of his eight NBA seasons so this is something fantasy owners should already be used to.

    Source: Gary Washburn on Twitter

  • Anthony Davis - F/C - New Orleans Pelicans

    Anthony Davis said that the Celtics are on his list of preferred destinations.

    Moreover, Davis added "they were never not on my list," though he also confirmed that the initial reports of his list including the Knicks, Lakers, Clippers and Bucks were true. Initially it had been said that the Celtics are not a preferred landing spot, and Davis' dad would rather his son play elsewhere. It sounds like everything is on the table now that his push to end up on the Lakers has failed, as Davis also said "all 29 teams" (sorry New Orleans) are on his list. Get ready for more updates on AD's thoughts as the season rolls on.

    Source: Tim Bontemps on Twitter

  • Nikola Jokic - C - Denver Nuggets

    The Nuggets have agreed to extensions with president of basketball operations Tim Connelly and GM Arturas Karnisovas.

    The Nuggets haven't reached the playoffs in the last five seasons but will surely end that streak this year. Their abundance of talent and depth currently has them in second place in the Western Conference although Paul Millsap, Gary Harris, Will Barton and Isaiah Thomas have all been injured for much of the season. Their draft choices and player development over the years has been a big catalyst for this as one could look at Nikola Jokic and the breakout seasons of Jamal Murray, Torrey Craig, Monte Morris and Malik Beasley, all of them having been with Denver since their first day in the NBA.

    Source: Denver Post

  • Ben Simmons - G/F - Philadelphia Sixers

    Ben Simmons paced Team World in Friday's loss to Team USA in the Rising Stars Challenge with 28 points on 14-of-17 shooting, five rebounds, six assists and three steals.

    Everyone knew that defense would not be one of the highlights of this game, but his .823 shooting from the field was just crazy good. He did miss his only shot from the line which was in a way, Simmons' artistic signature on his line for the night. Bulls' Fantastic Finn Lauri Markkanen chimed in with 21 points (9-of-17 shooting), six rebounds, two dimes and three triples.

  • Kyle Kuzma - F - Los Angeles Lakers

    Kyle Kuzma led Team USA to a 161-144 victory over Team World in the Rising Stars Challenge on Friday with 35 points on 15-of-27 shooting and was named the game's MVP.

    Kuzma added six rebounds, two assists, three triples and a block to the box score in what was a for-fun yet still competitive game that ended Team USA's two-year drought. Special mentions go out to Jayson Tatum, who chipped in 30 points (12-of-24 shooting), nine rebounds, three assists, two steals and six 3-pointers, as well as rookie Trae Young who double-doubled with 25 points (six 3s), seven rebounds, 10 dimes and a block.

  • Rodions Kurucs - F - Brooklyn Nets

    After missing the Nets' last game with a left elbow strain, Rodions Kurucs took to the court in the Rising Stars Challenge on Friday and posted 10 points (4-of-9 shooting), four boards, five dimes and two triples in 16 minutes for Team World.

    It's a once in a lifetime experience and it was good to see Kurucs healthy enough to make an appearance. He's been a low-end asset in fantasy thanks to his lack of consistent production but is one to watch especially if you're in deep keeper or dynasty leagues as he's shown some flashes of upside when he's had the chance to shine.

  • Kyrie Irving - G - Boston Celtics

    Kyrie Irving (right knee strain) is "very, very close" to a return and the Celtics would not be opposed to him playing in Sunday's All-Star game.

    Irving made the trip to Charlotte with his personal trainer a the team's physical therapist. Although he's missed the last two games, the Celtics wouldn't mind him participating in Sunday's game and Danny Ainge things that an exhibition contest might actually function as a good workout. Brad Stevens speculated that Irving would've been able to play on Friday or Saturday had the Celtics had a regular game, so it sounds like he won't miss much more time.

    Source: Boston Herald

  • Emmanuel Mudiay - G - New York Knicks

    Emmanuel Mudiay (strained left shoulder) is unsure of how he'll fit into the rotation when he returns from his injury.

    Mudiay was locked in as the starting point guard but Dennis Smith Jr. has since joined the team. Beyond that, Mudiay is also an impending free agent whose cap hold will be renounced if the Knicks do deliver on their wildest dreams and land two max free agents. He's not going to be a priority for the rest of the season, and a timeshare seems like the best-case scenario here. Mudiay isn't worth holding onto outside of very deep leagues.

    Source: New York Post

  • Anthony Davis - F/C - New Orleans Pelicans

    The Pelicans have fired GM Dell Demps.

    Since this news broke it's come out that Demps had been on thin ice in New Orleans for a while now, so it's not as though the Anthony Davis trade discussions — which certainly play a role here — were the root cause. It's more likely that the failure to surround Davis with enough talent that he'd want to stay, at least up until the last season and a half or so, was the bulk of the problem. The Pelicans want a new GM to take the helm and make the call on a final Davis trade, which will change the course of the franchise for years to come.

    Source: Adrian Wojnarowski on Twitter

  • Anthony Davis - F/C - New Orleans Pelicans

    Anthony Davis has been diagnosed with a muscle contusion in his left shoulder after undergoing an MRI.

    Davis' injury is reportedly "not too bad" but he didn't return to Thursday's game and the Pelicans might milk any chance they get to rest their star. His participation in Sunday's All-Star game is up in the air and he'll receive treatment over the next couple of days before determining if he can play. To add some fuel to the fire here, Davis reportedly left the building after he got hurt, which is likely to rub his teammates the wrong way considering they picked up a big win over a hot Thunder team. The saga will continue to unfold until the offseason.

    Source: Ramona Shelburne on Twitter